Man Who Drove His Car Into California Lake—With His Immobile Wife and Dog Inside—Convicted of Murder

February 1, 2018 Updated: February 1, 2018

A California man who drove his vehicle into a lake with his immobile wife and dog inside has been convicted of murder.

Ronald Hitchcock, 61, of Big Bear City, was found guilty of Second-Degree Murder and Animal Cruelty.

Hitchcock drove the vehicle into Big Bear Lake on Sept. 15, 2012.

He swam to safety but his wife, 53-year-old Deborah Crouch, was unable to move because of health issues and died by drowning.

A black Labrador in the car, named Onyx, also didn’t survive.

A neighbor near the scene of the crime heard Hitchcock banging on a chain link fence and called the police, reported the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office.

The neighbor told officers that he or she overheard Hitchcock say, “She is not going to get out of this one.”

Deborah Crouch had bruising all over her body consistent with physical violence, prosecutors said.

“During trial Deputy District Attorney Monrreal presented dive video taken by a GoPro camera that showed the victim floating in the car and the dog pinned between a partially rolled down window with his head out and body still in the car,” the office said.

Hitchcock’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 28.

He faces 15 years to life in prison.



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